1 Corinthians 2:13 (ESV) — And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
As a preacher and teacher, I speak a lot of words. I never speak anything that I don’t believe is true. If I didn’t think my words were correct, I wouldn’t say them. My counseling and advice to those who seek is always done in an effort to speak truth and help the person asking. I preach and teach with an aim to help folks follow Christ and walk in the truth.
My words may be true, but not because I speak them. In fact, the only guarantee of my words being true is when they are from Scripture or aligned with the teaching of Scripture. I could speak in error if I don’t stick to the Bible. The apostle Paul was in the same boat. He was not God. His words could contain errors. But not what he wrote by way of Scripture. His letters and writings were inspired by God, meaning they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. He even understood this dynamic. Notice what he says in 1 Corinthians 2:13, “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”
Paul says that he and his companions impart words not taught by human wisdom, but by the Spirit. They speak the words God leads them to speak. Again, not everything Paul ever said or wrote was God’s Word. However, those things that were taught by the Spirit’s power, were indeed the words of God.
This is how we have the Bible today. The Holy Spirit inspired the penning of Paul’s letters to the churches, not only for their benefit during that day, but to benefit us today. The reason these words still have power in our lives and for our faith is because they are words from God. They are eternal truths, timeless truths. This is why we should submit ourselves to the teaching of Scripture. These are not human words of human tradition. They are words of wisdom taught by the Spirit. Those who are spiritual discern their origin and interpret them as spiritual truths.
Reflection & Journal:
- What is the defining difference between Paul’s everyday words and the words that became Scripture?
- How should we approach the Bible? How are we to understand the words we read and hear?
- Why should this passage give us confidence about the words of Scripture being from God?
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